Glee Season Finale Review: Pomp and Circumstance

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After a little pomp and circumstance, Glee feels like it just grew up a little bit. I can't lie. I might've teared up during "Goodbye." (And by "might've," I mean I totally did.)

Graduation episodes are tough, especially when no one's really going anywhere, but tonight managed to balance the simultaneous excitement and uncertainty of the future for our favorite seniors.

Will on the Guitar

First, where are our seniors headed:

Mercedes' YouTube video has landed her a recording contract as a back-up singer on an indie label. Mike Chang is off to Chicago. Santana's mother, played by Gloria Estefan, gives her blessing for Santana to forfeit her cheerleading scholarship and pursue a career in music in New York. Puck passes his geography test, thanks to a kiss from Quinn, and Brittany gets to repeat her senior year. Forever. Her grade-point average is a 0.0.

Rachel, Finn and Kurt haven't heard from their schools yet and agree that when they get their letters, they'll all open them together.

When those letters come, it's bad news for Finn and Kurt and good news for Rachel. Which is actually bad news for Rachel because now the three of them won't be together in New York.

(And that's what you missed on Glee?)

Here's a pet peeve about all of this college acceptance that's been going on this season. Quinn's is the only one whose timeline fits with when normal colleges send out their acceptance letters. Maybe performing arts schools are different, but these letters arrived after graduation. It bugs me that these kids are graduating and they don't actually have plans in place aside from "here's what I want to do." Maybe I'm just overthinking it. If this is my biggest complaint from the episode, we're doing okay, right?

Anyway, Mr. Shue's assignment - say goodbye - felt right. Just as the writers have been returning to the show's "glory days," with the story lines and their character-centric focus, tonight's episode let us get back to the old, eclectic feel of Glee music and away from the theme-of-the-week schtick that's plagued the show. It was nice to have songs that were fun, fit the characters and weren't current Top 40 hits. (Except for the Taylor Swift number at the end.)

What else felt right about this episode? The flashbacks to the first season. The original members singing "Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat" was nice, but what was really great was Burt Hummel's graduation present to Kurt. Seeing him dance to "All The Single Ladies" and seeing scenes from Kurt's original trip down Beyonce' lane was funny, and it was perfect for this father-son duo. There's something about their pairing that has always worked well in the midst of story lines that seemed very broken.

The thing that felt both right and wrong was that whopper of a scene at the end.

Finn broke up with Rachel so she could pursue her dream.

Here's a girl who knows that nothing can stop her. She's got nothing to lose in waiting a year to go to New York. But then, just like that, her fiance' takes that option off the table by joining the Army, the one place he knows she can't follow him, and conspiring with her fathers and her friends. Finn's "I'm letting you go" was crushing, as was this:

You're going to get on that train, and you're going to go to New York, and you're going to be a star. Without me. | permalink

We knew it would happen. That it would have to happen. There was no way the two of them would get married. But still, in that moment, I felt the heartbreak of teenage love all over again. When Rachel put it all together and figured out what was happening, I felt it with her. I sat here biting my nail nervously and hoping the tears welling up in my eyes didn't spill down my cheeks. I like these two together, for whatever reason, but I know that young love isn't always endless love, and so, this was necessary.

That scene coupled with the shots of her walking through the city, while it was a bit indulgent of Rachel Berry's character when this is an ensemble cast, felt strangely adult. It felt like a new beginning, which is hopefully what we'll have when the show returns this fall.

Give the finale a grade in our poll and then tell us what you thought of tonight's episode.


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (308 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.


I thought glee was pretty good and i respected finn for his decision but I'm not huge fan of finchel whatever u call it I'm like a lot people I feel like most characters haven't got there chance or the writers don't care enough to write about them for example sam and Mercedes y couldn't we fans get more than balloons and hug and not a huge moment I hope next season really gives all characters a chance to shine not just rachel , finn


Kimmie I understand your frustration but I think many of your questions will be answered next season. Since we know all of the actors have expressed interest in returning to the show and Ryan Murphy has said he would keep on anyone who wanted to stay, I think we can see these stories extend into next season. In fact it would give even more of a reason to see characters who have otherwise gone far away.


Glee has givien us the opportunity to watch all these characters become adults and individuals by creating a new direction for each of them. This individual growth period for each of them will make them stronger and interesting to watch new paths each of them will take. I excited for this new direction that Glee will take. When kids graduate life changes and challenges become more demanding life is not as simple as it once was as in high school. These will be the stories we will get to watch as they grow into incredible adults. I love this direction for season 4.


This episode just wasn't that good. Song choices weren't fantastic in the sense that they didn't really show off the casts abilities or make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. and in all honesty they didn't really give all the cast there dues leaving waaaay to many loose ends. There was a huge focus on Finchel throughout the episode, a relationship that heaps of Glee fans want to see prosper and then they go and tear it apart at the end by means by a huge betrayal that is passed of as romantic. Finn's reasoning is he wants to try and restore the Honour of his father while releasing rachel of his burden yet he is 100% sure that she is the one. In fact he is so sure he has decided that he is going to leave her WTF... give me a break. Besides the fact that the Finchel break-up/make-up thing is old hat it's depressing to watch when the producers establish them as such a good couple. Yes the wedding should have been canned. but they should still have stayed together. Personally i'll watch Ep 1 of the next season but if they don't resolve it in the first episode i'm out. There's plenty of other good shows to waste my time on. Oh and if Rachel gets back together with that Jessie guy i'll be sending hate mail to the producers until the day i die


I loved everything about Goodbye. It ended the only way it should-Rachel going to New York to follow her dream. A boy showed how much of a man he has become by exhibiting selflessness and undying love for Rachel setting her free. As hard as it was to accept this ending for many of the characters it was a wonderful uplifting experience to see them be happy whom they are and how devoted they are to each other. Glee has created a wonderful lateral extension to creativity to each of the characters to follow into season 4. To grow into adults. To complete last tasks that will make them whole-Finn redeeming his dad's name. Kurt will find a new path with Sarah Jessica Parker's character's help. Santana uncharted territory but in New York. Finally, Rachel needed Finn's selfless push to follow the dream she and he believed that she was destined for. It showed the Glee club believed in her too. Glee has given us an opportunity to take a different fork in the road to watch them become adults and individuals with them living and experiencing life changes and defining new aspirations with new hopes for all of them. I loved it.


Glee is one of my favorite tv shows but to be totally honest I hated the finale. They totally screwed up a season that started amazingly fine. I love finchel and all but we didn't even get the chance to say goodbye to other people. Besides why didn't kurt get into nyada.....I hated this sucked! sucked! sucked!


The thing I loved about this ep was that it focused on the graduating class. No PSA's, tributes or ridiculous s/ls. The songs moved the story along. It was emotional and it tied up their high school days. I realise that there was hardly any logic in this ep but I was able to suspend belief enough to enjoy it, this is Glee after all.


This eppy was great. Lets face it this show has always been the Rachel show from the very first ep. I'm happy of the way they handled her s/l. She had come full circle. I'm also glad that they didn't get married. Finn was man enough to let her go and chase after her dream knowing that he wouldn't be part of it and I'm glad that Rachel didn't give up her dream to be with Finn. Finn was right if they were meant to be then they will be. Love isn't the be all end all ESPECIALLY in high school. So as heartbreaking as their break up was (I cried like a baby when Finn ran after the train) it was the best thing for them. And it sent a positive message to kids.


OMG. Being probably the biggest fan of Glee and also being the biggest finchel shipper, i was absolutely crushed when Finn took Rachel to the train station. As soon as they pulled up there i immediately started sobbing and i mean REALLY sobbing!! I was thinking to myself gosh it's just a show, but it's not really. it's a show i have been watching from the very beginning, a show that i have loved from the beginning. I immediately fell in love with Finchel and it just breaks my heart that they broke up and i ended up crying myself to sleep last night. awful ending for me i desperately hope they will be together again seeing as they will both be guest stars next season.


Amazing that none of these students (Kurt, Santana, Mercedes) had back-up plans for college, or, in the case of Mercedes, any at all, apparently. We've learned that almost all of the Glee kids' parents are professionals (doctors, lawyers), and yet none of them made any real college plans?
And, Rachel heads to New York, ostensibly in late June or early July (since most high schools don't graduate until the end of June), and everyone in the street is wearing a jacket as if it's early Spring. Even climate doesn't make sense on this show!

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Glee Season 3 Episode 22 Quotes

You know how hard long distance relationships can be. We both saw The Notebook.


Our work here is done. There's only one thing left to do. Say goodbye.